Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Williams Seeks FERC Backing for $285M Transco Expansion

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa-Based Williams Seeks FERC Backing for $285M Transco Expansion

Article excerpt

Williams has sought federal approval for a $285 million Transco pipeline expansion.

The "85 North" project application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would boost Transco's natural gas capacity by 308,500 dekatherms a day across five Southeastern states.

That marks an increase from 85 North's projected 250,000- dekatherm capacity discussed last year.

The FERC filing announced Monday involves construction of 22 miles of 42-inch pipeline in several different segments running from Mississippi to North Carolina. It also would add a 20,500- horsepower compressor facility in Anderson County, S.C., and other modifications to existing compressor facilities.

This represents Tulsa-based Williams' third pipeline expansion project in the southeast U.S., which spokesman Chris Stockton attributed to two factors: growing projected demand in the area's electrical power generation infrastructure, and increasing supplies of available natural gas from Texas, Oklahoma and neighboring regions.

"Transco for Williams has always been a northeast story, taking gas east," said analyst M. Jake Dollarhide. "This takes it in a new direction.

"It also just shows you just how capital-intensive these projects can be," said Dollarhide, reflecting on the cost.

Although tightening credit under the national recession has imperiled some utility plant construction across the U.S., Stockton said Williams intends to go forward with not just these three pipeline expansions, but others across the nation. The Williams Web site lists 10 ongoing projects that, combined over the next several years, could enter in the billions of dollars.

"These assets are regulated assets," said Stockton.

"These aren't projects that are built on spec. We don't go forward on anything unless we have binding contracts with customers, utilities, so forth. These are safe investments. …

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